In the early stages of the film, we are shown how misunderstood the meaning behind Kwanzaa has been, not only by those in the non-African American community but also by those within it. We are then taken on a journey through the seven underlying principles of the holiday. The seven principles are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and lastly, imani (faith). The director notes that these principles "are universal. Here in america we participate in lots of celebrations of other cultures. Whether it's Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick's Day or the Chinese New Year — we're celebrating their culture and it doesnt take away from our own culture."
Asante has an open mind in relation to putting these principles out in the world, stating, "The idea of celebrating African culture and African American history and culture, that's something that can be extended to everyone." If you really want to understand the underlying meaning of the film, the filmmaker explains it this way: "The proverb says 'A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.' When you recognise and celebrate someone else's culture you don't lose anything, that candle illuminates the room."
Does celebrating Kwanzaa help the director himself feel closer to his African heritage? Asante explains his own personal vision behind the commemoration: "When we look at the history in America and other places we see not only enslavement but we're talking about a removal from culture, a removal from one's own identity as being a part of the process of enslavement. It's been historically very important for people to reconnect to that because it's been lost. It connects and reconnects people with a past that's important to understanding who they are today."
Speaking to the director, it is obvious that he is bound for greatness. At a young age he has already managed to achieve a total of three published books, two documentary films, and is a professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University. Having reached these goals does not stop him from pushing further. "There's so much work to be done. There are so many stories that haven't been told. So I'm constantly feeling like there's just so much to do. I don't have a lot of time to think about what I've done because I'm always thinking of what there is to do," he said. He continues to push the boundaries and this film has won him the African World Documentary Best Film award and it continues to inform and impress around the world.